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Leadership during challenging times: Creating an employee-centric culture

By Inderpal Bhandari 

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Published by IBM

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Enterprises have been radically changing how they operate for the past two years as they replaced face-to-face interactions, adopted a hybrid model, and delivered a new experience for employees, customers, and partners. Leaders jumped from digital transformation awareness, and reluctance, to implementation to ensure they weren’t left behind. But a new trend has emerged—digital reinvention.

According to the latest McKinsey Global Survey, business leaders predict that by 2026, half of their revenues will come from products, services, or businesses that haven’t yet been created. This urgency for building new businesses reflects the belief that today’s products and services will be insufficient for addressing disruptions and meeting a sustainable future.

But this innovative trend surpasses external products and services. Many enterprises recognize that some of the innovative technologies that have taken hold in the last few years, like hybrid cloud and AI, could be used to digitally reinvent their own internal processes and empower them to become more resilient and user-focused. Not only does technology improve customer experiences by delivering strategic and innovative capabilities – it allows leadership to become employee-centric, which Paul Cormier, President and CEO at Red Hat and I discussed at the recent Chief Data and Technology Officer Summit, “Leadership During Challenging Times.

Employee centricity

Employees, at all levels, started rethinking their purpose, their values, and what they wanted to do with the rest of their lives. Trust and empowerment became vital. To succeed, leaders must create a culture where employees are enabled, trusted, and empowered to make decisions and not be afraid to make mistakes.

Remote working, well known by the open-source community, enabled leaders to change the culture of entire organizations – from hiring the best talent with no regard to location, to giving people a voice who used to miss out due to not being in the same physical space as the rest of their teams.

What does the future of enterprises look like?

Enterprises are becoming more intelligently automated, data-driven, and predictive; risk-aware and secure. Leaders are designing organizations for agility and speed by infusing AI across the foundational businesses functions: customer care, business operations, the employee experience, financial operations and, of course, IT operations.

As enterprises reinvent their business and re-architect their entire environment, having a flexible architecture is crucial. Working in a hybrid multicloud environment brings new complexity to this task. But new concepts that provide greater agility without sacrificing integration or governance, such as a data fabric architecture, are beginning to take hold. That will be the new trust as we move forward with these technologies.

To hear more from peers and learn tangible actions that you can customize and implement into your organization, watch the replay of CDO/CTO Summit “Leadership During Challenging Times.” I invite you to register for our CDO/CTO Summit series here. We will discuss AI in April and Data Fabric in June.

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